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1 of 1 episodes seen
So, Elf 17 is an 80's OVA that is rather goofy and doesn't even try to make sense. The point to watching it is nothing more than enjoyment. If you want to relax to something lighthearted and fun, this might be for you. If you're seeking depth or originality, then stay away from this title at all costs.
Plot-wise, it involves a few characters who travel to another planet and cause trouble by stealing their holy wine. The protagonist is apparently an elf who can fly, the male foil is some guy in a mech suit (he even sleeps in the suit!), there is a prince who's apparently just here to enjoy the spectacle, and a traitor taxi driver. It's nothing more than a mish-mash of cliches, without even the slightest attempt to explain it.
The art is surprisingly good considering how obscure this title is. You won't be let down on that point. The music is mostly notable for the awesome ED.
And.. that's it! Not much more to talk about really, considering its short length and subject matter. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
Probably the first thing I should hit on in this review are the two OVAs that preceded this. They aren’t actually prequels, they are telling the same story. However, there are some differences. First, the TV series covers much more material than the OVAs. The OVAs do not add anything to the TV show, there’s no vital information in them. However, I still recommend that you watch the OVAs first. They are both really short, and a lot less plot-oriented than the TV series. They focus a lot on visual effect and atmosphere, but have a light-hearted tone for the most part.
Just like the OVAs, this TV series doesn't take itself too seriously; even during dramatic scenes there's a certain wittiness about it. It's got a good plot premise, but doesn't really explore it too much. It tends to focus more on the characters than the plot, and this is really just fine.
The art is kind of outdated, and doesn't show too much detail. Despite this, the art is still very good in some spots, and of course there are tons of fantastic experimental scenes. As long as you don’t expect high-res, you might find a good amount of charm in the artwork. There aren’t any lapses in quality or anything like that.
The soundtrack is pretty good, the most memorable part of which is the excellent opening. As another reviewer put it, it’s a classic. The characters are all pretty fun, though not terribly deep. Probably where this anime is strongest is in the enjoyment section.
26 of 26 episodes seen
When Tomino promoted this film, he claimed it was “even better than Evangelion”. This is an extremely brash statement for any director to make, but in a sense he’s right. It touches the same issues as Evangelion at many parts, but ultimately it’s better for the soul. It is an uplifting defense of the power of love at its core, and thus while I would *not* agree that it’s higher quality, it might be better to watch and enjoy.
So what exactly is this show that defends love against all? Brain Powerd is about biomechanical living mechs fighting for or against Orphan, a ship that will sail to the stars, but requires draining the energy of all life on earth to succeed. On both sides are troubled teens from broken families, who struggle to overcome their hangups as much as their enemies.
What makes this show a masterpiece is the characters. I’ll grant that they aren’t by any means easy characters. They are difficult to understand, and some of them are almost impossible to relate to, such as the antagonist Jonathan. The way the characters behave is complex, and they hide a lot of their feelings. This is what underlies many of the complaints about this show. Without their hearts on their sleeves, sometimes a character will do something “random”, such as Yuu’s defection in the first episode. But once you piece together the characters, everything they do makes sense. Until then, trying to read them is like trying to read real humans. And it’s important to note that the characters are weird. They aren’t weird in the sense that they are incomprehensible, but rather that they have unique modes of expression that don’t conform to stock anime archetypes.
This show, basically, refuses to ever pander to the audience. It requires your full attention to understand. It’s no secret that that which demands the most out of you gives the greatest rewards. I could talk about the plot and characters all day, there’s plenty to chew on in those regards. Instead, I’ll give a brief word to the other aspects of this work.
The animation is interesting, though maybe not conventionally beautiful. This especially applies to the fights, which function in a specifically non-fluid manner. The antibodies (mechs) sort of “blink” short distances, giving the whole fight a surreal vibe. They often take place over water, specifically utilizing these two mediums in an interesting manner. I really think the fights over water are quite elegant, some of the more memorable mech fights out there. The character designs have been criticized as rather bland, but I never got that impression. I especially like Hime’s design.
The music is the only thing about this series that is universally acclaimed, and that’s with good reason. Yoko Kano, famous for Cowboy Bebop, is the one on charge of this front. The opening by Eri Shingyoji, “In My Dream”, is one of my favorite openings of all time.
While we’re on the topic, this is another key gripe about the show. The opening features every character naked for no apparent reason. It’s a bit abstract, but my interpretation has always been that when they are stripped bare, at their core what they need is love. Of course, the clothes represent the revealing of their emotions, and the lyrics are what implies that it’s about needing love. This fits in because it is, arguably, the key concept of the show.
To sum up my overall impression of the show; Brain Powerd is a drama of the most intriguing characters whose outside conflict mirrors their inner struggles. It’s a bit hokey at times, and it’s not as philosophically deep as it thinks it is, but Tomino directs cheerfully and with a good sense of humor, leading to a show that is downright inspiring. It is basically the optimistic version of Evangelion. I can’t recommend it to everyone, only a few viewers will “get it”, but for those who do this is a fantastic and sublime show. read more
3 of 3 episodes seen
With all this to brag about, there is one fatal flaw to the whole affair. It is, in the big picture, utterly generic. It has nothing all that interesting to say in terms of plot. Going with my hollywood comparison, it favors style over substance. And quite frankly, that has to be the fault of the original story, those who worked on this adaption are not at fault. As far as adaptations go, I would say this adaption is a 9/10 adaption of 6/10 material. Thus, we have a high 7/10, halfway between good and great. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a mature and quality take on the Saber Marionette concept.
110 of 110 episodes seen
So, what's this all about? It's historically regressive, seems like a German parable, or an abstract WW2 based fantasy. It ultimately didn't say anything revolutionary, and seemed a bit overly-sympathetic towards monarchy and the cult-of-personality. But this sympathy would be something expected from, let's say, an unbiased history series. One example of it being an abstract history fantasy is in the animation. The battles are presented in 2D! It's about the left flank and the right flank. There is no up flank or down flank. No strategy took advantage of the third dimension! Another example is the Germanisms (for example the use of German language when addressing each other, like "seig kaiser"), which are so bald for me to consider the “history” aspect of show to be the main point. This isn't supposed to be a work of speculative fiction, it is supposed to be a work of history disguised by spaceships and laser beams. This series has several strong points. It is the most complex, yet coherent, series I've ever seen. It presents several subjects worth thinking about, and runs through the debate of democracy vs. monarchy, which many viewers are only familiar with one side of (the winners write the history books!) The music was grand, and, ... German. German classical music. I swear this show was written by history nerds. Just like Julian and Yang. Coincidence? I think not!
So here we have some WW2 era futurized fantasy between monarchy and democracy, written unbiased and with full attention to details, set against the very best music ever written (Brahms, Beethoven, etc.) The characters, how about them? Well, let's say flat but complex. They do not really grow as characters, which of course allows other characters to accurately judge their intentions and tendencies, and plan their activities accordingly. In other words, the flatness of the characters is almost necessary to make this show more complex. I still have to dock a couple points there, I can't accept dropping character development merely for the sake of plot development. They are good characters regardless. How about the art? Well, quite frankly it's rather poor. Some of it can be excused by age, but the point is that at this point we're looking for excuses. All these reviewers giving the art an 8/10 are plain delusional. At least it fit's the mood of the show. As for my enjoyment, it was at times tainted by the pure sluggishness of the show. I think this would have been better as an 80 episode series, to be honest. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
So, what makes one generic love story better than another generic love story? Well, one thing is the characters. The characters are surprisingly well-developed, using stock archetypes as a template to build the characters from, instead of as a shortcut to avoid any of that difficult character development. Our first stock character is Misaki, the tsundere. She is portrayed as an amazingly strong girl, who excels at everything she does and hates men. Our second stock character is Usui, who is the aloof cool-guy. He is portrayed as utterly perfect, besting everyone in physical strength, charm, and skills. So, basically, this is an anime about two perfect people.
This isn't that strange, if this were, for example, a battle anime, we would expect the main characters to exceed mere mortals. We like to watch gods duke it out, but who likes to watch gods fall in love? Well, unlike typical battle anime where the characters gain strength and go from normal to perfect, here we have an anime that goes in the opposite direction. The characters become more human, more empathetic, the further the series goes. Misaki is completely helpless against her feelings for Usui, her physical strength and emotional resolve making it hard for her to lower her shields. Usui has some sort of troublesome past, and in general he always seems to suggest a greater depth of character if we could just pierce his surface. His actions sometimes give away how he's feeling, and reading him is just like reading a human in real life. Eventually Usui's typical patience begins to falter, and he starts showing signs of jealousy when Misaki's around other men.
Both of them are well-pronounced in their situation, it is easy to feel sympathy for either character, despite the fact that they are, technically speaking, far more perfect than most of us could ever hope to be. Usui is really cool, and his off-the-wall sense of humor makes this anime hilarious at times. Misaki is attractive as hell, and when she blushes it is almost impossible to not go “aww”. They are both sympathetic enough that viewers can express the exact same feelings as one of them. Reading other reviews and discussions in the forums often reveals that many viewers get extremely impatient with Misaki's refusal to admit her feelings, as if they were Usui, and many viewers get annoyed with Usui for being so possessive, as if they were Misaki. The thing is that they express this as a fault, whereas I consider such reactions to really show how well this show generates sympathy for the main characters.
As for the other characters, they are less fleshed out, and sometimes feel a bit too gimmicky. One of the other characters who really amused me was Misaki's sister, probably the first character who's gimmick is being hilariously boring. A lot of the scenarios were typical and bland. However, this show always has a little bit of an original twist on things, sort of playing with the tropes and stereotypes. The artwork is clean and modern, with clearly high production values and attractive character designs. The music is pretty generic and uninteresting. Overall this anime isn't good enough to be considered great, but still surprisingly high quality for what it is. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
The artwork was fantastic, though I personally didn't particularly like the character designs. My only complaint about the otherwise amazing art is that I think it was a bit too detailed, too clean, too sterile, too computer overloaded. Lots of computer evidence can be found in the abundance of geometric forms. It's hard to explain, but it should make sense when you view his artwork. The gist of my complaint is that it doesn't have the human touch that I feel most great art has. The new Evangelion movie was computer overloaded too, but it still felt human. Speaking of, the computer room scenes looked like they were ripped right out of that show, I'll consider it a cute allusion, not plagiarism ;) Much ado has been made about the music, and I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even notice it (except a certain scene involving a violin). Apparently I didn't notice a lot of other things. A flaw in the movie is that one has to pay extremely close attention to catch a few critical plot points, and at one of these points I was eating kind of sloppy chips and salsa, maybe my attention was too divided because for a while afterwards I was confused.
I never got too into the characters. Suffice to say, they were too simplified for me to really connect. Some things haven't really changed since Voices. Unlike Voices, the pacing was erratic, which slightly killed the mood for me.
In the end, we have a technically impressive movie which too often substitutes emotional bullshit for real character development and storytelling, attempting and failing to incorporate science fiction, and is clumsily paced. If Voices is a C, this is a B. Makoto Shinkai has tons and tons of potential, but a few weak points in his direction that need to be addressed before he walks in the league of the greats.
1 of 1 episodes seen
Hmm, our new and talented director is yet another pessimist come from university? Surprise, surprise. I think my synopsis says it all, she can't bear to watch the course of “human stupidity.” It is another smug liberal, bent on thinking that humankind is doomed to failure and that the environment will strike back on our weak and pathetic species. If only mankind had paid attention to what these college-bred liberals were saying, if only we'd changed our arrogant ways and accepted the obvious truth, then we might have been saved. You might think you are picking up a bit of resentment here, damn right you are!
I am sick of all this doom and gloom crap, and enviro-fatalism is just one other strain of academic sickness that the world has thankfully proven itself immune to. As long as books have been sold and positions hired on fatalism, so has the human legacy proven resistant to any foretold demolition. Surprise, we don't live underground yet. In 15 years, the cocksure college-bred cynics will be once again shown up by the tenacity of the human spirit, we will still live where we please (though probably still on earth), and a new generation of doom will replace the enviro-fatalists, who replaced the nuclear-fatalists, who replaced the totalitarian-fatalists, and so on.
Besides the oh so deep setting though, stands a well crafted story that effectively makes use of the 25 minutes given to it. It skims a philosophical issue in the midst of feeling sorry for mankind and propagating a dingy atmosphere, effectively using music and art to make this atmosphere.
What this OVA reminded me a lot of is Voices of a Distant Star. Suffice to say our director and writer Yoshiura Yasuhiro has followed in Shinkai Makoto's footsteps in taking on the majority of the duties himself, throwing himself heart and soul into a low-budget melancholic vignette lacking true depth but desperately clinging onto a veneer of profundity. Thanks to very good music and artwork, this approach is surprisingly effective, and I personally would rate it above Voices.
The 2D and 3D animation is not quite as good as some of the reviewers think. The best blend of 2D and 3D I've ever seen is the new evangelion, and this doesn't compare at all. It is quite an erratic camera, not really helping the atmosphere, just zooming around like a toy in the hands of a kindergartner. The 2D vs the 3D is a bit unintentionally jarring, and the 3D really does come across like playing with software, not like serious filmwork. Maybe it just needed more budget, just like most OVAs that dabble in this third dimension.
Summary: Typical enviro-fatalist plot gives veneer of depth to a piece consisting of great art and music, yet amateurish camerawork and jarring mixtures of 2D and 3D. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
The premise of the series is that sometime in the future, a group of 6 explorers made an emergency crash onto the Planet of Terra. There was the inconvenient problem that they landed without any females. Rather than wither off on this distant planet, the six decided to make clones of themselves, and thus repopulated the planet, but without females. The compensation for the lack of females is the development of female-appearing robots called marionettes, who can function like a human, but can't experience feelings of their own, except, that is, for a few special marionettes whom our intrepid protagonist discovers, leading to ever more grand adventures until the fate of the planet is at stake.
A few complaints with this show are that it has a very obvious plot, most of the jokes aren't funny, an irritating worm put in for comic relief really degrades this series, and a lot of the story is patronizing. I think this series is made especially for kids. The OP & ED are quite catchy, the animation is bad by today's standards, and the characters are a bit flat. It's still good clean fun though, worth watching with popcorn and friends. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
"Intelligently" schizophrenic, because none of the cuts are actually random. Every movement has a purpose, not a wasted note is to be found. Sometimes, just when the dissonant camerawork and cut scenes seem about to overpower, it resolves into a beautifully harmonic scene. Sometimes the artwork is truly beautiful, like the shock-waves through flowers (cleomes, which only bloom at night)in the opening, and sometimes it's twisted, like a few of the vampires' true forms.
It may be avant garde, but it is by no means pretentious. Rather, it is a drunken romp flavored with gore, eroticism, dry humor, and pulp. It starts off sober enough, as most drunken romps do, but, well, you know how those Friday nights go… By the end, it sobers up into a pretty love ballad, and finishes quite touchingly with an epic and emotional finale.
It's often hard to tell if the story's continuous or not. Just as distortion allows a punk rocker to hide wrong notes and sloppy technique, the mania of this show obscures its sanity. When the show hits a sober note, it is ofter startling. One particularly delightful moment in the story was the parable of the butterfly and the flower who looked like a butterfly. The butterfly tries desperately to court the still flower, who never responds to him. As one of my favorite characters says, "no matter how strongly the butterfly feels, he will never be together with a flower." The music this series dances to is the weakest link. Even so, it is delightfully gothic during the episode, pretty and energized before, and raunchy after.
I thought this would be a controversial review considering the negativity this show has gotten here, so I checked the ratings distribution over at animenewsnetwork. This show is considered "very good" by a strong mode, though the average is drawn lower by a minority who find the show to be "worst ever". This means the people who dislike it are the most vociferous, not the most representative. What I'm getting at is that you, dear reader, shouldn't be scared away by the negative reviews.
Here's a guide to see if you like it: 1. Did you like the manga if you read it? As far as I know, everyone who was a fan of the manga hated the show. You might be the exception, but not likely. 2. Do you like SHAFT? If so, then you have a greater chance of liking this release. 3. Do you pick up on dry humor? Almost every anime I've seen that's not a comedy or pretentious "art" (such as haibanme renmei) has some level of dry humor. If you don't really pick up on that stuff, a lot of this will seem boring to you. 4. Can you tolerate inappropriate fan service? Our 100 year old protagonist has the body of a ten year old, but definitely has tendencies belonging to much older females. 5. Watch the first episode. If you are one of the few who liked the first episode, then you are most likely going to enjoy the rest of the series. If you hate the first episode, don't bother with this series.